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The ideas out there 

Recently I've blogged a few times about blogging-as-marketing. But in fact blogging is a basic form of communication, of publishing, of taking ideas and sending them off into the world, to see what happens to them.

When this blog was mentioned on the westlit discussion group (Welcome, westlitters!), I encouraged others to blog, which got me thinking. As I understand it, the Internet started as a glorified bulletin board. You could post a question that a lot of people could look at. You, the questioner, were generally the focus. The experts were just out there somewhere. They would respond, you would be grateful, and that would be the transaction of ideas.

The expansion of the Internet -- and the expansion of search technology -- now means that the ideas can live out there, on their own. You don't post a question, you search for its answer. Already we use "Google" as a verb.

So how do we engage ideas? Whereas discussions -- even email-based discussion groups -- once came to us, now we can go out and look for those ideas, waiting until they interest us. So when do we know how and when to let loose ideas? What's the cyberversion of the guy who says, "Hey! Nobody cares!" Or do we even need such a guy?

Publishing anything involves a conflict. To what extent do we take pleasure in the articulating of an idea, and to what extent does the pleasure come only when other people acknowledge it? I believe that the recent explosion of micropublishing technology (not only blogs, but print-on-demand) augurs for the former. And I think that's good for the world.

"Blog on," he said, and his smile took no account of its audience.

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